One of the remarkable things about being human is our innate need to create. Whether it’s dinner or a song or a flower garden or a method for more effectively driving to work or a screenplay or a house, people are constantly creating things. Though creativity is part of being human, artists are particularly aware of their creativity and how valuable it is. We may also be more aware that creativity is a muscle that can be enhanced.
There’s a variety of ways to build your creativity muscle. Today, we’re going to talk about cross training.
In athletics, there’s the concept of cross training. Cross training is engaging is sports or physical activities in addition to one’s primary sport. So, for example, a runner may also lift weights and swim or bike. A soccer player may run. This cross training enhances the athlete’s performance in their primary sport by building the athlete’s skills in other physical areas not necessarily covered by her primary sport.
Artists can also benefit from cross training. In fact, though they may not be famous for it, a variety of artists have cross trained: Marilyn Monroe was a poet, William Faulkner, Zelda Fitzgerald, John Lennon and Miles Davis were visual artists, J. R. R. Tolkien wrote and illustrated a children’s book, Flannery O’Connor was a cartoonist. David Bowie is a visual artist. Jarvis Cocker is a filmmaker.
And, of course, there’s Bizarro’s own Carlton Mellick, who is a visual artist and writer (and he was even once in a band), Andrew Goldfarb, musician, visual artist and writer, and John Skipp, writer, filmmaker and musician. Then there’s Michael Allen Rose who does just about everything. And you know I could go on.
So, here’s the question: Are you an artist who engages in a variety of art? Do you write poetry and make gourmet meals? Do you play guitar and build ornate dinosaur models? Are you a dancer and an illustrator? Or do you cross train in your own discipline? Do you write short stories and a poet? Are you a novelist and essayist? How do your artistic pursuits fuel and support each other?
Or are you someone who has stuck to one type of art? Have you considered cross training as a way to expand your creativity and fuel your primary art?
Spike Marlowe has held a number of odd jobs, including working in a wild west show, as a detective, as a Bigfoot researcher, as a writer for an Internet content farm and as a busker. These days she’s a writer, blogger and bizarro editor for Eraserhead Press, with a focus on the New Bizarro Author Series. Her first book, Placenta of Love, is now available at all the usual locations. You can stalk her online at her website, Facebook or on Twitter at @spikemarlowe.